Objective: The objective of this retrospective study was to investigate the diffusivity of different components of radiation-induced cerebral necrosis with the hypothesis that the diffusivity of the various components is elevated to different degrees.
Methods: Twenty-two patients (18 men, 4 women, aged 34-72 years) with radiation injury to the temporal lobes after radiation therapy (RT) for nasopharyngeal carcinoma with diagnosis confirmed on serial magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) were studied with coronal T2-weighted, diffusion-weighted, and gadolinium-enhanced MRI. Using three diffusion directions for diffusion-weighted MRI, the apparent diffusion coefficients (ADCs) of the enhanced component, the cystic or liquefied component, and the edema component were measured.
Results: ADCs of all components of RT-induced cerebral necrosis (154 +/- 21.6 x 10(-5) mm2/s for contrast-enhanced component; 188 +/- 47.4 x 10(-5) mm2/s for cystic/liquefied component; 177 +/- 35.4 x 10(-5) mm2/s for edema component) were all significantly higher (P<0.00001) than ADC of the normal frontal lobe white matter (82 +/- 12.4 x 10(-5) mm2/s). The ADC of the enhanced component was significantly lower than that of the cystic/liquefied component (P=0.0096) and the edema component (P=0.003). A significantly lower ADC was shown in the enhanced component in temporal lobes showing both short-term morphologic deterioration (P=0.024) and occurrence of deterioration on long-term follow-up (P=0.04) compared with the temporal lobes that showed improvement or stable morphology.
Conclusions: ADCs of the contrast-enhanced component, cystic/liquefied component, and edema in RT-induced cerebral necrosis was significantly higher than in normal brain parenchyma. There is association between a lower ADC in the contrast-enhanced component and morphologic deterioration.